In a few weeks this weeping cherry will burst forth in a glory of blossoms. Not long ago tree was a collection of bare twigs shaped like a weeping cherry. Today you can see the transition as the twigs begin to bud out. What happened?
Tree woke up from a winter slumber. Each fall tree realizes winter is coming. Days are shortening and tree begins to move its sap and associated energy into the root system, in effect, preparing to hibernate until the days begin to lengthen, signaling to tree that spring is soon to arrive. Weeks before the official start of spring, much activity is taking place ‘underground’ as tree releases its store of energy to start another cycle of growth.
So it is with many of our natural cycles. Much activity precedes the point that we are aware of any change. The signals that initiate these changes in cycle have evolved over thousands of generations. For many plants the changes in length of day signal changes to their yearly cycle. Length of day is just a trigger. It correlates to the average climate conditions at the latitude that tree lives. What will be the impact of global climate change on the average local conditions when tree wakes up each spring?
Tree is expecting to wake up to a certain temperature, a level of moisture in the ground around its root, and a certain CO2 level in the air. Remember plants breath the opposite from animals (that would be us). They breath in CO2 and exhale oxygen!
One spring is tree going to wake up to a nightmare? Conditions may not be what tree is expecting.
What’s amazing to me is that tree sleeps with one eye open. Tree has an internal clock, an awareness of when the days get longer. When the alarm goes off, tree must drag itself out of bed. Same as you and I.